Sprint’s Race to Be Last in Customer Service

The utter pathetic ineptitude of Sprint’s customer service is legion. But Steve’s letter really butters the biscuit for its pristine irony and Mobius strip double-non-think.

Just a hint, imagine a cellphone retailer that says there’s no way to call the store.

Follow the dark and unctuous wendings of this tale of customer service horror, after the jump…

Steve writes:

    “I’ve been a Sprint customer for many years, about a decade. I have and always have had one of their most expensive phones, and I use a lot of premium services. I love Sprint’s cell phone service and their technology. I do NOT love their customer service, which has recently gotten far worse.

    My new phone, the Samsung version of the RAZR (far nicer than the RAZR, by the way), had a broken microphone. I couldn’t make calls, because nobody could hear me. I went to Sprint.com to find out what to do. They told me to call a Sprint store for service, and told me I needed to check and find out if they can service my phone. So I called the number for the closest store on their website. Surprise! I got a recording. And not just any recording, but one of those “Please tell me why you’re calling!” recordings that make you guess at what phrases the computer knows and doesn’t know. It’s like watching technology eat itself. Anyway, I finally figured out that “Representative” would get me to an operator. This is of course not a representative in my local store but at Sprint’s central HQ, who then transferred me to that store’s technical support department. But of course, that went straight to voicemail. I left a message, explaining my situation, then called and went through that long and painful process for three other stores. So in short, I needed to call the phone store, and despite the fact that they are fully staffed and all have cell phones, and the fact that the walls of the store are literally lined with working phones, I cannot actually call into the store. I don’t mind stopping by… but if they don’t support my phone, I’m wasting my time!

    So one of them calls me back. The other three stores never did. The guy who returns my call tells me they do support my phone. I stop by. There’s a concierge of sorts at the front of the store who puts my name on a giant LCD flatscreen hanging in the middle of the store. I finally get called to a support person, and they take my phone and look it over. Then they tell me “We have to do some tests on it… come back in about an hour.”

    “About an hour?” I said? “Why don’t you just call me when the phone is ready for me?” “Oh, sorry, no, we don’t call.”

    “WE DON’T CALL!”… It’s a phone store! It’s full of phones!

    So I come back an hour and forty-five minutes later, go to the concierge, get my name on the screen, wait, wait, wait, finally get called. “Oh, I’m sorry, it looks like they’re not done with it yet…” To which I reply, “but they told me to be back in an hour, and it’s been almost two hours, and they wouldn’t just call me when it’s ready… what am I supposed to do?” She told me to hang on and she went to the back, talked to the tech people (who are in some kind of protective glass booth, no doubt bulletproof), and came back and told me they’d have to order me a replacement.

    “Ok, how long will that take?” “Three to five days. Call this number,” (she writes it on my receipt! It’s the direct number for the store! I’m in!) “after 3pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.” A long pause. “Excuse me? I have to call you every day to find out if my phone arrived? Why can’t you just call me? IT’S A PHONE STORE!” “Sorry, no, we don’t call.”

    Terrific. So I wait, and I call Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday… then Monday… then Tuesday… phone comes in the following Wednesday, over a week later.

    So to summarize, the phone store I pay tons of money to does not accept or make phone calls from any of their 50 phones. Thank you Sprint for making this process as difficult as possible for your loyal customers.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.